Aubergine a´la Hyderabad


Photo: Andreas Dienert

Hyderabad is the capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh which lies in the South east of India.  The cuisine is a beautiful fusion of Mughlai, Turkish and Arabic along with the influence of the native Telugu and Marathwada cuisines. The key flavours that stand out are of coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds which are extensively used in many dishes. There is a saying in Hyderabad, cooking patiently or ithmenaan se is the key; slow-cooking is the hallmark of Hyderabadi cuisine.

When I lived in Chennai I was exposed to the people, culture and  the great cuisine of Hyderabad,  extremely well known for its Biriyanis( Indian paella/risotto cooked in steam). There is a dish that normally accompanies these Biryanis and that is this dish called Baghara Baigan or as I would like to call it Aubergine a’la Hyderabad. Here is my version of it that I have taught in my South Indian Cooking class. I think this would make a great dish for a Meat Free Monday or for any other wonderful day of the week.

Aubergine ala Hyderabad

                                                                                                                       Photo: Andreas Dienert

Serves 4


  • 8 to 10 aubergine small size or 1 large aubergine approx  450gms( Small Aubergines can be found at Kistagrossen at Kista if you live in Stockholm)
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds (preferably brown)
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek  seeds
  •  1/4 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
  •  8 to 10 curry leaves (kadi patta)
  •  3 green chillies, slit
  •  4 tbsp oil
  •  salt to taste

For the coconut and sesame paste:

  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds (white)
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut( fresh cocnout flesh or you can use dry cococnut flakes by adding a bit of water and leave it soaking for 5 mins)
  • 2 tbsp raw peanuts
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp tamarind pulp( soak in water for 20 mins and squeeze out the seeds)

For the garnish

2 tbsp chopped coriander  or another herb if you don’t like corriander. You can also garnish with colourful summer or wild tomatoes.


  1. If you are using the Indian small aubergines. Slit the aubergine lengthwise, into four, but leave the stems on, so the eggplants remain joined at the stem. Otherwise cut up a big aubergine into chunky cubes. Keep aside.

 For the coconut and sesame paste:

  1. Combine the sesame seeds, coconut, peanuts, ginger, garlic and onions in a pan and dry roast them over a slow flame till the flavours are released and the ingredients are lightly browned.
  2. Add the turmeric powder, coriander seed powder, cumin seed powder, chilli powder and tamarind paste and grind it to a smooth paste using ½ cup water. Keep aside.

How to proceed:

  1. Heat the oil in a deep bottomed pan, add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and nigella seeds.
  2. When they crackle, add the aubergine, curry leaves and green chillies and sauté over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Remove and keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, add the coconut and sesame paste and cook till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
  4. Add the cooked aubergine, ½ cup of water and salt and cook covered over a slow flame till the brinjals are soft.
  5. Taste for tartness and add more tamarind water if needed.
  6. Serve hot with rice or bread.

Bon Appetit!

Tips:  You will get most of the spices and ingredients at asian shops or Indian Food shops in your city. Sometimes when you don’t have the time be creative and replace some of the ingredients with ingredients that you can get your hands on. Like lime or mango instead of tamarind.

Information on my upcoming Cooking Classes:

One Response to “Aubergine a´la Hyderabad”
  1. 13 Spices says:

    I love your take on these beautiful aubergines which happens to be my favorite. But the way you have prepared this is absolutely unique. I love all things fusion and this is something I will definitely try. Especially the the tamarind and sesame paste. I am curious- does that lean towards of pickle of sorts? Thanks!

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